40. Ibn `Abbas, Abu Razin and Sa`id b. Jubayr have said that the allusion is to the benefits accruing from the trade fairs held during the Hajj season. Others have thought that the allusion is to spiritual benefits, and both could be correct (Ibn Jarir). In fact, according to other reports, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have also said that the allusion is both to the benefits of this world as well as the Next (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
In Asad’s words, “… i.e., increased consciousness of God through facing the first temple ever dedicated to Him, as well as the consciousness of being part of a brotherhood embracing all believers. Apart from these spiritual benefits, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca provides opportunity for believers from all parts of the world to become acquainted with the many social and political problems that confront the various geographically separated sectors of the community.”
It is miraculous, adds Mufti Shafi’, that although people so often go broke after such ceremonies as marriage, house construction, etc., it is common observation that a man of small means spends off the savings of his life-time on Hajj, but does not go broke for that reason.
41. That is, the days of tashriq (Ibn Jarir from Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak. (See Surah al-Baqarah verse 203 for notes).
Ibn `Abbas thought that they were the day of Sacrifice, plus three following days (i.e., 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah). This also happens to be the opinion of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibrahim Nakha`i, (in their second opinion), as also that of Ibn `Umar (Ibn Kathir).
Ibn Kathir writes: But others, such as Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, Mujahid, Qatadah, `Ataa’, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Hasan, Dahhak, `Ata’ al-Khurasani, Ibrahim Nakha`i, and including Ibn `Abbas, the allusion is to the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah. Imam Shafe`i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal were of the same opinion. These are also the most important of days in Islam. The Prophet has said in a narrative preserved by Bukhari: “There is no deed of other days better than those performed in these days.” He was asked, “Not even Jihad in the way of Allah?” He replied, “Not even Jihad in the way of Allah, except that a man should go out with his body and his wealth, and return with nothing on.”
Another hadith encourages that Tahlil, Takbir and Tahmid be said often in these days. Hence, Bukhari reports, Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah would go out into the markets during these ten days and say aloud the Takbir. The people would join them in saying the words.
Hence, Ibn Kathir continues, some have thought that these ten days are of greater importance than those of the last ten days of Ramadan, although some have said that those of Ramadan are of greater importance since the Night of Power falls in them. A third opinion is that the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah are the greatest, while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are the greatest.
Another opinion about the days in question is that of Ibn `Umar, Suddi and Imam Malik. Ibn `Umar said that the ayyam al-ma`lumaat and ayyam al-ma`dudaat put together covered only four days. Of them, the day of Sacrifice and the next two days (10th-12th of Dhu al-Hijjah) are the ayyam al-ma`lumat, while the last three days after the day of Sacrifice (11th-13th) are the ayyam al-ma`dudat.
Majid quotes and comments on other aspects: “No fetch of religious genius could have conceived a better expedient for impressing upon the minds of the faithful a sense of their common life and of their brotherhood in the bounds of faith. Here is a supreme act of common worship, the Negro of the west coast of Africa meets with the Chinaman from the distant east; the courtly and polished Ottomon recognizes his brother Muslim in the wild islander from the farthest end of the Malayan Sea.’ (Arnold, Preaching of Islam, p. 415) ‘The institution of Hadj does not represent for the Moslems merely a sacred institution but also a League of Nations, an International Academy of Art and Science, and an International Chamber of Commerce all in one. Professor Snouk Hurgronje says: The idea of a league of human races has indeed been approached by Islam more nearly than by any other; for the League of Nations founded on the basis of Muhammad’s religion takes the principle of the equality of all human races so seriously as to put other communities to shame.’ (Lady Cabbold, Intro, pp. XVII-XVIII).”
1. A city dweller may not slaughter his sacrificial animal before the `Eid Prayers; a countryside dweller could.
2. According to Imam Shafe`i and the Hanafiyy school, days of sacrifice are four: 10th-13th.
3. Most scholars say that the slaughtering should be carried out during the days of these dates and not nights. Although Imam Abu Hanifah has allowed it during the nights also. (But of course, on 13th the time ends with Maghrib: Au.).
4. It is not wajib, but only preferable that he who sacrifices partakes of the meat of his sacrificed animal. Here, the words ‘eat of it’ have been added because in pre-Islamic days some of the pagans would not eat out of their sacrificed animals.
5. But one may not eat out of what he sacrifices as expiation or against vows.
6. The sacrificed meat cannot be sold off either, nor its skin, or any other part.
7. The division into parts for oneself, friends, and for the poor, is not obligatory, although it has been the practice of some of the Salaf.
8. Imam Abu Haneefah and Nakha`i have disagreed with other Imams and have said that sacrifice is not obligatory on a traveler. Abu Bakr, `Umar and some of the Salaf were also of the same opinion, i.e., sacrifice is not obligatory on a traveler (Qurtubi and others).
42. Asad quotes Pickthall: “The repeated Qur’anic insistence on pronouncing the name of God whenever one slaughters an animal is meant to make the believers ‘realize the awfulness of taking a life, and the solemn nature of the trust which God has conferred upon them in the permission to eat the flesh of animals’ (Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an).”
43. Asad comments, “.. they (the sacrifices) are meant to commemorate Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his first-born son after he dreamt that God demanded of him this supreme sacrifice…; furthermore, they are a reminder that God is the Provider of all sustenance and the One who gives life and deals death, and that all must return to him; and, lastly (as stressed by Razi), they are to be the symbols of each believer’s readiness to sacrifice himself in the cause of truth.”
On the practical side, Mufti Shafi` has the following to add: Of the animals slaughtered, there are several kinds. For example, one offered in expiation against an animal hunted down in the Haram, (or in Ihram), in expiation of certain acts committed while in the state of Ihram, which might sometimes require a camel, a cow, or maybe just a sheep; etc. Now, it might be noted that out of the animals slaughtered in expiation of the second kind mentioned above, their meat is prohibited to the one who is supposed to expiate his sin through slaughter. There is no disagreement between the four Fuqaha’ over this issue. Such meat is entirely for the poor. In fact, a rich person cannot be gifted thereof either. As regards other kinds of slaughtered animals, such as those of Hajj, their meat may be consumed by the one who offers the sacrifice. To divide into three parts: one for self, one for relatives and friends, and a third for the poor, is only desirable (mustahab).
(To be continued)